It is the end of the year, the time to celebrate and the mobile operators have decided to greet us with a very special Christmas gift!
Yes indeed, one after the other, the mobile operators revised their data plans and adjusted them… on the rise.
First, Ooredoo put an end to Data Paung Kuu which was launched back in February 2017. Since then, Paung Kuu were the cheapest data packs in the market with a blended rate of 1,2Ks per MB.
Paung Kuu was quite popular among heavy users thanks to its XL packs ranged up to 130GB.
The XL trend was actually launched by Telenor a few days before Paung Kuu was born. The Norwegian operator launched Data Parcel scaled up to 120GB but finally decided to put a step back and replaced Parcel with Data Suboo which offer less data but still at a very attractive price. At least at that time.
In December, Telenor also decided to revise the price of its Suboo packs and once again price is on the rise with a blended price very close to Ooredoo.
Telenor is giving you the change on your 1000Ks bill
Telenor took also the opportunity to launch a new bundle called Suboo RCV. There is no delicate way to say this but Suboo RCV is nothing else than a scam. And not a very smart one. Looks by yourself:
On one hand, you can buy Data Suboo 500MB for 799Ks. On the other hand, if you spend 1000Ks for this coupon called Data Suboo RCV, you will receive 500MB and 201Ks talk. When you look at the math, this bundle has absolutely no value.
Colorful pack was the name of MPT daily and monthly data packages at the beginning of the year. It was rapidly reduced to one flavor: daily. New monthly packages were launched in September: Data Carry allows customers to rollover unused data from a month to another.
In December, MPT removed Data Carry from the market and launched new packages called Cashback Data Packs.
Are you still reading?
If you find mobile data pricing in Myanmar difficult to follow, it is because it is. Messy, dirty, sneaky, the mobile operators are fighting fire with fire, promotions after promotions, launching and shutting down promotions as ephemeral as they can be.
It is very surprising and unprecedented to see prices going for a rise. This month, all the operators have revamped and completely aligned their data packs on a blended rate between 1,6Ks to 1,7Ks per MB.
This price adjustment may have been requested by the regulator in an effort to avoid a price war which can be destructive for the market.
Quick and dirty
This hypothesis is concurred by the odd price structure of these new plans. For instance, Telenor price per MB is absolutely not digressive.
To sweeten the pill of this price increase, Ooredoo and MPT came up with a new trick: a cashback promotion. When the customer activate a mobile data package, he gets the package value back in a separate bonus wallet (that is the trick).
If you look at the footnote, this wallet has a very limited validity (5 days for MPT and 7 days for Ooredoo) and is only valid for pay as you go data. Downsell opportunity is therefore quite limited for the mobile operator. This is purely a marketing trick that bring limited value for money for the customer.
To finish on a positive note, mobile operators in Myanmar are actively working on upgrading their network to provide higher speed to their customers. Considering the current consensus price-wise, network performance will be key for those looking to increase their market share.
Herbert is a nom de plume.
I am an experienced telecom professional blogging about the fastest growing Internet market in the world: Myanmar.